Biggest Meltdowns of NFL Week 10
Week 10 of the NFL season has come and gone, and we’re really starting to learn what’s what this year. Some things we already knew (Peyton Manning is pretty important to the Colts) and some have been pretty surprising (Alex Smith an effective starting quarterback, whaaaa?) and this week further clarified the playoff picture moving forward. This weekend, as every weekend before it, offered up plenty of embarrassing, painful and hard to watch meltdowns, so we have once again picked our five favorites to count down. This week: the Falcons play riverboat gambler, the Ravens make everyone forget their loss to Jacksonville, the Chiefs didn’t watch any film this week, the Browns do their best to give their fans hope before crushing them, and the Eagles officially get put to sleep. Come for the meltdowns, stay for the sadness!
5. The Falcons had other plans, couldn’t stick around for a lengthy overtime
Atlanta came into the game riding a three game winning streak and were looking to take advantage of the up and down play of the Saints in recent weeks and take control of the NFC South race. Late in the fourth quarter and down by ten points, Matt Ryan engineered two clutch drives, including one that started on Atlanta’s own five-yard line, to tie the game and force overtime and for a while it looked like they Saints would be the ones to collapse in this game. Then overtime happened…
The Falcons got the ball first and were looking to march down and win the game. After a third down pass, which initially appeared to get the Falcons the first down, was spotted just short setting up a 4th and 1 on Atlanta’s 29-yard line. Coach Mike Smith, seemingly with better things to do than wait and see if his defense could hold up, immediately decided to go for it. Michael Turner took the handoff and was immediately dropped for a loss, turning the ball over to the high-powered Saints offense already inside field goal range. Four plays later, John Kasay kicked a 26-yard chip shot giving the Saints the win and putting them in the driver’s seat for the NFC South division title. On the bright side, Smith was able to get out of the stadium earlier and make whatever appointment he needed to keep, so there’s that.
4. The Ravens replace Jaguars loss as ‘Most Embarrassing Loss of Season’
The Ravens may be the most inconsistent team in history. Twice they have beaten their rival and defending AFC Champion Pittsburgh Steelers this season, and both times they’ve followed it up with a stinker. In week 2, they proved they weren’t as invincible as they looked in their beatdown of Pittsburgh in Week 1 by losing to the Tennessee Titans in one of the most offensively inept showings we had seen from this Baltimore team. Then they shut down the AFC South frontrunning Houston Texans in Week 6, only to out-stink their Tennessee performance with a 12-7 loss to the previously 1-win Jacksonville Jaguars. They seemed to be getting things back in the right direction as they rallied to beat Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh in Week 9, only to do everything in their power to give away the game in Seattle in Week 10.
Forget the 109 rushing yards they surrendered to Marshawn Lynch to go along with his 58 receiving yards, and don’t mind the fact that Ray Rice only had more receptions (8 for 54) than carries (5 for 27), the real reason Baltimore never led in this game was that they turned the ball over three times, including two fumbles on kickoffs, that gave Seattle possession inside the Ravens 25-yard line. If Seattle had any plays that crossed the goal line, this game would have been out of hand in a hurry, but they settled for kicker Steven Hauschka’s career day, kicking five field goals. In addition to the two fumbled kickoffs, Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff missed two field goals, so if you’re an out-of-work special teams coach, the Ravens may be hiring soon.
3. Chiefs didn’t watch Broncos-Raiders game, so Tebow running was a surprise
I’m going to go ahead and put it out there so everyone is aware of it: Tim Tebow and the Broncos are going to run the ball. I didn’t think that was necessary after they utilized the read-option to pull off the upset in Oakland last week, but apparently I do because the Kansas City Chiefs were not prepared for the run. Denver racked up 244 yards rushing on 55 attempts. On their opening drive, the Broncos ran the ball eight times, called zero passes, and scored a touchdown. Even as their backfield became less crowded, both Will McGahee (hamstring) and Knowshon Moreno (knee) went down with injuries, the Broncos kept running the ball. Third string back Lance Ball ended up being the only Bronco with more than 10 carries, rushing 30 times for 96 yards. Even wide receiver Eddie Royal lined up in the backfield, carrying the ball 3 times for 19 yards, because he sure wasn’t going to get the ball through the air because Tim Tebow went 2-for-8 on the day passing AND STILL WON THE GAME. ESPN, currently in the middle of their “Year of the Quarterback,” has vowed never to speak of this game again.
The Broncos finished the day calling 55 running plays to only 8 passing with four different rushers averaging more than four yards per carry (Moreno, McGahee, Tebow, Royal). Question for the Kansas City defensive coaches: Did any of you WATCH film from the Oakland game? How could you not spend all week practicing defending the read-option? How can you not force a team running three offensive plays (read-option, iso-run, quarterback draw) into more passing situations? If there were any snaps that you didn’t have 9 defenders in the box to stop the run, then you should immediately resign, because you’re doing your job incorrectly. You should go hang out with the special teams coach from Baltimore and you can commiserate on how terrible your players played for you.
2. Browns look impressive putting themselves in position to win, then blow it
Did anybody who isn’t a Rams or Browns fan watch this game? If you did, my apologies for your terrible weekend. If you didn’t, you missed an epic suck-fest in which Cleveland really pulled out all the stops to fail miserably in front of their home crowd. With the Browns leading 12-10, Josh Cribbs fumbled on a punt return fighting for extra yards that set the Rams up in Cleveland territory. St. Louis was able to come away with a field goal to take a 13-12 lead. Not to be out-sucked, however, kicker Josh Brown proceeded to kick the kickoff out of bounds, setting up Cleveland on the 40-yard line. The Rams continued to help the Browns move down the field with a personal foul horse-collar tackle that moved Cleveland inside the Rams’ 10-yard line. Browns tight end Alex Smith tried his best to give the game away, fumbling on a rushing attempt but Cribbs was able to fall on it, preserving the collapse for the special teams. Lining up for a 22-yard attempt to win the game, little more than an extra point, Browns long snapper Ryan Pontbriand snapped the ball of center Alex Mack’s foot and rolled it back to the holder who was not able to get the ball down correctly before kicker Phil Dawson pulled the kick wide left allowing the Rams to run out the clock. If points were given for making your fans sad for coming out to a game, the Browns would be an unstoppable machine.
1. It’s all right to start making non-football plans for January, Eagles fans
The great experiment can officially be declared dead for this season. The Philadelphia Eagles, proclaimed the “Dream Team” by backup quarterback Vince Young in the preseason, are 3-6 after giving up their fifth 4th quarter lead, this time to the lowly Arizona Cardinals, led by their backup John Skelton. The wheels, which have seemed wobbly for most of this season, have officially fallen off the Philadelphia “Super Bowl or Bust” bus and we can safely call this season a bust. The defense gave up a late touchdown drive and the offense looked completely out of sorts the entire day, allowing Arizona to rally past the Eagles 21-17 in Philadelphia. The mere fact that the fans didn’t set fire to everything on their way out of the stadium is a huge testament to their restraint and stadium security.
The defense got interceptions from both Nnamdi Asomugha and Asante Samuel, but gave up three touchdown passes to the second-year backup Skelton who threw for 315 yards on the day. Larry Fitzgerald was a nightmare for the Eagles secondary, catching seven passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Michael Vick, meanwhile, struggled heavily against an unheralded Cardinals defense who many were expecting Vick to break out against. He ended up completing just 16-of-34 passes for 128 yards, throwing two interceptions and no touchdowns. His top target, Desean Jackson, was inactive for the game after missing a meeting the day before the game, which explains the screams you heard on Sunday as Jackson fantasy-owners voiced their frustrations. With this loss, the Eagles now share the same record as the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars. Yet, when discussing the NFC playoff picture, the Eagles were still included in the “in the hunt” category. Way to keep hope alive, NFL Network, but maybe you should just let this this dumpster fire burn itself out and we’ll see who survives it after the season.
(All pics via Yahoo! Sports)